Women paddlers rue lack of foreign exposure
By Ayantan Chowdhury | Express News Service | Published: 18th July 2017 09:19 AM |
CHENNAI: While India’s top-ranked paddler A Sharath Kamal plays his league table tennis in the German Bundesliga, the likes of Soumyajit Ghosh, G Sathiyan all ply their trade in different European leagues. However, none of the female paddlers do so.Former national coach Peter Engel and current coach Massimo Costantini are major supporters of going abroad, female paddlers have mostly refrained from doing so.
While the likes of Mouma Das have family commitments, players like Manika Batra have not had the opportunity to travel abroad. Among women paddlers, only K Shamini had a brief stint in the German women’s league.“After marriage, playing abroad has become more difficult. There are no plans to do so. If I had gone there earlier, I’m sure my overall game would have improved,” World No 135 Mouma told Express.
There is also a question mark over where to play. Not all European leagues are competitive and there are only a handful of choices for paddlers willing to go out. Manika herself is planning a stint in Germany. “According to me, only the German league and Chinese league are good for women,” World No 104 Manika Batra added. “I’m thinking about moving to Germany.
All the men have improved since moving out and I think it will be good for my development. I need to plan a lot regarding finances as well as taking my coach there,” the Delhi paddler said. Both paddlers felt that the women’s game was stagnating because of lack of exposure. While there are three men in the top 100 currently, Manika is the highest-ranked women. “The men get to face such a variety of opponents. They constantly practice with players of different styles. We don’t. All Indians have the same sort of style and we keep facing each other in nationals and camps,” Manika said.
Both paddlers agreed that Max (Massimo) is trying to change all that. “When we hold camps abroad, Max tries to provide us practice partners of varying styles,” Manika said.The Ultimate Table Tennis league has the potential to remedy the ills. The foreign stars playing here possess a variety of styles. “In India, there is a lack of choppers. Practising with World No 9 Han Ying (Shaze Challengers) has taught me how to deal with the shot,” Mouma added.
Yoddhas clinch thriller
World No 28 Doo Hoi Kem clinched the final match-up against World No 24 Petrissa Solja to help Oilmax Stag Yoddhas clinch a thriller 15-12 against the Shaze Challengers here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium. Earlier, Soumyajit Ghosh gave the Challengers a great start as the World No 85 beat Nigerian Aruna Quadri (World No 29). However, he lost his mixed doubles tie. Han Ying of Challengers won both her match-ups.
Results: Oilmax Stag Yoddhas 15-12 Shaze Challengers (Yoddhas first) Aruna Quadri lost to Soumyajit Ghosh 2-11, 11-9, 8-11; Manika Batra lost to Han Ying 11-8, 5-11, 10-11; Abhishek Yadav/Doo Hoi Kem bt Soumyajit Ghosh/ Petrissa Solja 11-10, 11-9, 11-6; Aruna Quadri bt Andrej Gacina 10-11, 11-6, 11-3; Polina Mikhailova lost to Han Ying 8-11, 11-10, 8-11; Jubin Kumar lost to Andrej Gacina 5-11, 8-11, 2-11; Polina Mikhailova bt Mouma Das 11-7, 11-7, 11-8; Tomislav Pucar lost to Li Ping 11-9, 6-11, 9-11; Doo Hoi Kem bt Petrissa Solja 11-9, 11-7, 11-9.